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Air Force veteran dies during aerobatics crash at Wisconsin airshow

The pilot killed at the Stevens Point Airshow in Wisconsin said last year that his single-seat Yak 55-M is "very demanding."
By Frances Burns   |   June 2, 2014 at 1:17 PM
| License Photo

STEVENS POINT, Wis., June 2 (UPI) -- A Delta Airlines pilot and Air Force veteran died when his small plane crashed during an aerobatic display at the Stevens Point Airshow in Wisconsin.

The rest of the airshow was cancelled after the death of William M. Cowden, 47, of Menomonie.

The crash occurred shortly after noon Sunday about 1,000 feet from the runway. Cowden was flying a Yak 55-M, a Russian single-seater designed for aerobatics and can achieve speeds of up to 220 mph, he told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram in an interview last year.

It's very demanding," Cowden said. "You're going from high speeds to low speeds to going backwards. It's all precision flying."

Cowden learned to fly in the Air Force, serving for 20 years before he retired in 2006 as a major.

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